Coire an t-Sneachda

Martin leading The Message

Martin, John and I have been out today in Coire an t-Sneachda. We climbed The Message. The turf was frozen and the crag was very white. We walked out via Point 1141m. The snow cover on the plateau, the ridge we descended and the ski area looked excellent for ski touring.

Winter Climbing in the Cairngorms

Sharon enjoying the technical first pitch of Central Crack Route.

Sharon, Ian, Steve, Martin and I have had a great day out today in Coire an Lochain (Cairngorms). We climbed the classic Central Crack Route. This excellent climb gives varied mixed climbing with a number of variations possible in the upper section.

The conditions on the route were good. The turf was frozen and the buttress was very white. Lots of ice is forming including unhelpful verglas in the cracks. It should be noted that the approach to all routes at the moment requires care. This is due to there being no build up on the crag aprons giving difficult cramponing conditions.


Glasgow Climbing Centre

I was across at the Glasgow Climbing Centre with a group from Adventure Edinburgh today. Adventure Edinburgh provides excellent opportunities for young people interested in climbing, mountain biking and hill walking/mountaineering. The group was well motivated, a pleasure to work with and really enjoyed the chance to climb at a different wall.


Out today in the Caringorms with Calum, Cameron and Lewis from Adventure Edinburgh. We took in the summit of the Cairngorm and used the limited snow cover to look at wind movement of snow around the hillside and how that fits in with safe route choice in winter. We also found a few patches of old firm snow and used these to refresh boot and axe skills.

Fiacaill Ridge and Buttress

There’s a dusting of fresh snow above 650m and this has been transported by the wind to give unconsolidated areas of snow on north and east facing coire rims and around gully exits. Below freezing all day from the car park. There’s a fair bit of rime ice around and some hoar developing. The turf is firming up, but isn’t fully frozen as yet. No precipitaion during the day and light South-Westerly winds.

Kayaking, Canoeing and Rescues on the Teith

More staff training today with the Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors team. We were on the River Teith in the Callander area in a mixture of kayaks and canoes, neither my natural element. As well as boat skills and group management we were also looking at rescue skills for both people and boats.

James with Ben Ledi in the background

There were views of Ben Ledi this morning and the snow was down to about 700m. The Teith was still pretty high and there was some more precipitation towards the end of the day.

David launching in the Callader car park

 Another good day with the team either learning or refreshing a lot of skills. Thanks to Dave for all his input over the two days.

John in one of the livelier sections

Rafting and Rescues on the Tay

Out staff training with the Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors Team on the River Tay near Aberfeldy on Thursday.

Nigel, Mike, myself and Craig having a pleasant day out

We were looking at rafting skills and swift water rescue techniques, which meant spending a fair bit of time in the water either being rescued or performing rescues.

Ravelston Dry Tooling

This afternoon I managed to persuade Pamela to have a look at a dry tooling venue in Edinburgh I’d been meaning to check out for a while. We did some of the easier lines there (between D3 and D5/6) and generally had a pleasant couple of hours.

Pamela on one of the corner routes

It’s not bolted, so it’s all bottom roping and a rigging rope is a definitely useful. A search on the internet under Ravelston and Dry Tooling should get you details and a topo if you’re interested.

Beinn a’Bhuiridh and Stob Diamh

Out today near Dalmally with a Falkirk High Tops team of Alan, Billy, Colin, Julia, Linda, Lorn, Ros, Sue, Tom and Vic. The start point for the day was from the B8077 near Drishaig before climbing steeply onto the east ridge of Monadh Driseig and heading up to the summit of the Corbett of Beinn a’Bhuiridh. We then descended steeply to the Lairig Torran before heading over Stob Garbh to the highpoint of the day Stob Diamh. The descent took us over Sron an Isean and down it’s South-East ridge.

On the Stob Garbh/Stob Diamh ridge

There was snow from about 800m with significant accumulations on higher East and South-East aspects. No new snow during the day and cloud mostly above the summits. Freezing above about 750m and a light North-West/ West wind. The turf was firm above about 850m and ice was forming at higher levels. On the drive up Ben Lawers and Ben Lui looked to be holding plenty of snow high up.

Julia and Sue on Julia’s first Munro with Ben Cruachan in the background

It’s worth noting there are new vehicle tracks up Coire Glas and Coire Chreachainn and that the footbridge shown in Coire Chreachainn on the 1:25,000 map is now no longer servicible.

Sue, Vic and Lorn with Stob Garbh behind

An excellent day out with views to Ben Lui, Arran, Mull and the Etive and Glen Coe hills.

Creagan Cha-no

Out today with Cameron Wood for my first winter routes of the season. We headed for Creagan Cha-no above Strath Nethy to avoid the crowds and were a little surprised to find three other pairs climbing there during the day.
Cameron and I climbed Anvil Gully (IV,4), which has some good technical sections interspersed with easier angled turf and a good optional belay before the final wall.

Cameron approaching the optional belay on Anvil Gully

After a quick snack break we then climbed Fingers and Thumbs (IV,5), which has an easy first pitch followed by a steep and awkward start to the second.

Cameron near the top of Anvil Gully

The easier angled routes such as Duke’s Rib and Jenga Buttress were looking less wintery and teams reported less frozen turf on this type of line. The steeper lines and those with a more north-easterly aspect were holding much more snow with turf generally well frozen with the exception of the odd dry clump. The approach was easy with only a light covering of snow. There were areas of wind slab on North and East aspects and cornices are building.

Photos from the Summer

Nearing the summit of the Jungfrau.

Great rock climbing just before the summit of Mont Blanc de Cheilon.

Thanks to Graham Frost (frostguiding) for these two photos from the summer just past. The top photo shows the final few steps to the summit of the Jungfrau which is located in the Bernese Oberland next to the Eiger. The lower photo shows me leading towards the summit of Mont Blanc de Cheilon. This mountain located above Arolla provides an excellent traverse at alpine AD.